RMBP standalone vs. 13" Air + Thunderbolt Display

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by suenification, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. suenification macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2006
    I've set a budget to spend no more than $2,500 on a new computer system. As far as usage, I rarely run photoshop or do any sort of video editing, though I occasionally like to play a few games, nothing hardcore. Portability matters somewhat to me, but I'm not carrying a laptop around every day, I have an iPad for that. My existing MBP is dying so I need to get a new computer soon, this is what I'm considering:

    a) 13" Air w/ 256 MB SSD + 8 GB RAM, i5 processor + Thunderbolt Display for a total of c. $2500 in the edu store

    b) RMBP w/the slower processor + 16 GB RAm for $2200

    Any thoughts, or has anyone considered these configurations?
  2. Drask macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    If power > portability (for you), I'd go with the rMBP and a $300ish external (maybe a 24").
  3. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    well seeing as he basically does nothing on a computer, i would assume portability would be more important. if the only reason you need 'power' is to play a few games, then buying the RMBP is really stupid.

    if you're not particularly worried about mobility, i imagine having a 27" screen would be WAY nicer.
  4. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Don't forget, the processors aren't directly comparable by speed, either -- the rMBP has four cores, and with hyperthreading four virtual cores, while the i5 in the MBA only has two, and therefore two virtual cores. The i7 also has a much greater Turbo Boost.
  5. suenification thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2006
    Can the air run parallels + maybe the likes of diablo III at medium quality without killing itself?

    I have a crap external monitor right now so I definitely need a new one, and I hear the thunderbolt display basically serves as a sweet dock for the MBA.

    I'm only considering the RMBP because as a current MBP owner (late 2008) I'm wondering whether the air is too underpowered, but it sounds like it's not
  6. titanflyer macrumors member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I have an 11 inch i5 Air with 4GB and 256GB SSD and it runs fusion just fine, and in fact not just fusion, but Windows 7 with Oracle Enterprise and a big tomcat app for work. It runs fine, but does page as I only have the 4GB or ram. If you get the 8GB version, it will run great for your uses. I also think the USB3.0 will allow you to run it from a USB drive much easier if you have multiple VMs.

    I also have the RMBP base and it runs it better obviously. If I had to choose one I would have to say the 13 inch air ultimate would be the one I would choose in your circumstance.

    PS - The RMBP price you have up there is a little off, add the 200 bones for 16 GB of ram, so 2400.
  7. Drask macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2012
    Parallels? Maybe. Diablo 3? No, not on the air. It has no dedicated GPU to run that game. If indeed all you do is light photo editing, light gaming (by this I mean games that doesn't require gpu, not talking about time) and web browsing then yea, the air is better, but I hardly believe that's all you want your computer for (I assume that you don't have a desktop setup so this will be your main machine, correct me if I'm wrong).
  8. suenification thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 1, 2006
    Drask, that's right I don't have a desktop set up. By "light gaming" I was definitely not referring to Farmville, more so that I'm happy playing an occasional proper PC game (eg GTA 4) without demanding that it run on high quality settings.

    The ideal of course would be to have a RMBP AND a Thunderbolt display but that blows my budget...
  9. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    If you got the air, I imagine you'd feel quite disappointed with game performance and regret it. I imagine you'd less likely regret a mbp with retina display unless having a large external screen is paramount

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